Noel Cobb

The Swallows of Vallombrosa

When Arthur Miller finally heard the pain
In Marilyn's voice, he said he suddenly knew
The 'inexpressible happiness that tragedy reveals'.

Why do we fear our moment of happiness so much?
Do you remember the swallows of Vallombrosa?
Five brown-capped babies riding high in the boat of their nest.

Crazy idea, to be married in the Palazzo Vecchio
On full-moon day in June. But love longs for excess.
Even the Gods, they say, enjoy the spectacle

Of uncommon human happiness. And we were happy.
Thousands of tiny blossoms in the tall lime trees
Made the streets of Florence a perfumed garden.

Running up the cool stone steps, pink rosebuds in your hair,
Pink satin slippers on your feet, you would have stopped
Botticelli in his tracks, Love's looks so graced your face.

Here, in the City of Flowers near the Arno,
Venus holds Mars in her arms. We kiss and then take hands
What tender, good fortune for this Midsummer Marriage!